US authorities on May 23 ordered sanctions against crypto wallets that are believed to have alleged ties to the North Korean government, as stated by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
OFAC pointed out that the blacklisted wallets containing Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), USDT and USDC are owned by an individual named Sang Man Kim, a 58-year-old North Korean citizen. All these addresses were hosted by Binance exchange.
However, this does not mean that Binance actively controls these wallets. They appear to be user-generated wallets on the exchange. On-chain data also didn’t show any transactions made in the past year.
OFAC said that the North Korean government has carried out malicious and fraudulent cyber activities to launder money including in virtual currency, in order to support its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.
Binance has undergone many investigations for allegedly facilitating bad actors’ efforts to circumvent sanctions. However, Binance Financial Crime Compliance Head Tigran Gambaryan confirmed to CoinDesk in April that the exchange has been strictly purging North Korea-related actors from its platform.
North Korean hackers have been repeatedly accused of being behind many serious attacks in the crypto space, such as Harmony’s Horizon and Axie Infinity’s Ronin bridge. The US Treasury also said that North Korea is one of the organizations which gained a lot of benefits from blockchain, with more than $1 billion from attacks in 2022.